Connor Brown: “I’m Just Making Sure I’m Personally As Prepared As Possible and Let the Chips Fall Where They May”

The Washington Capitals’ 2022-23 season ended with the team reflecting on their first summer out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2014, an injury-ravaged campaign, and a bevy of changes in the offing for the club in addition to the (almost-filled) vacancies behind the bench needing to be filled.

Among the notable players who missed time this past season with injury was 2022 offseason addition Connor Brown, who was acquired by General Manager Brian MacLellan in a trade with the Ottawa Senators. Just four games into the young season, Brown tore his ACL in a game against the Vancouver Canucks, missing the entirety of the regular season after undergoing surgery to repair the torn ligament.

“Honestly, you know what, the surgery was great”, said Brown in an appearance on the Mitts Off With Luke Gazdic podcast, “It was nice to go after [Capitals right wing] Tom Wilson did his surgery, and so he kind of was able to help with a surgeon to pick, and the rehab has been going really well. I’m six months removed from surgery, and I’m feeling good again.”

Brown, who was acquired in large part to fill the void left by Wilson’s absence from his own ACL rehab, described the moment of injury as “just unnatural”.

“I knew something was wrong”, Brown revealed, “I didn’t even try [to put weight on it]…and I just went right down the tunnel. I remember taking a couple steps down the tunnel and just kind of collapsed, took a knee in the tunnel.”

“More so out of just I couldn’t believe it, you know, I really felt, I could tell it was a big one, it was a serious injury…it was deflating for sure. And you go through something like that, you learn a lot about yourself…all you can do is just work as hard as you can, get yourself out of that hole…”

Capitals’ Brown Likely Out For Season After Undergoing ACL Surgery But Not Ruled Out

Brown, who at 29-years old is entering Unrestricted Free Agency come July 1, is in a far different situation entering the free market, as outlined here by NoVa Caps’ Jon Sorensen. While his future as a Washington Capitals is unclear at best, the District left a positive impression on Brown.

“I loved it, I loved it”, Brown told Gazdic, “Honestly, great guys. That team, that core has been around since I was in junior, a fan of the NHL.”

“It was honestly a lot of fun to get to know [Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin] Ovi, John Carlson, and Tommy Wilson, good Toronto boy. They have a great locker room and there’s a reason that they’ve won multiple President’s Trophies, a Cup. You can kind of see that in there, they’re just very sure of themselves.”

Ovechkin and Wilson, whose absence to start the season left a big hole in the Caps’ lineup, are part of the team’s veteran core and arguably its most important players. While Brown did not play with them for very long, his time as a Capital left a positive impression about the team’s rugged wingers.

“He’s just one in a million”, Brown responded when asked to describe Ovechkin, “He’s just a monster of a man…he’s just an anomaly, he’s something special. His charisma and his personality is so great for the game. He was a lot of fun.”

Both Brown and Wilson hail from Toronto, and having played against each other growing up and now in the NHL, Wilson’s success is not a surprise to his teammate.

“He’s just like, made in a lab. But it’s not by accident too though. That’s the thing, you play against these guys; I’ve played against Tommy Wilson since we were five-years old…we never actually got to play on the same club still”, Brown joked.

“It’s nice to watch a guy like that go about his process. It’s not an accident he is where he is, and he’s had the kind of career he’s had so far. He trains so hard and he does his due diligence, and his diet is dialed. Every point of preparation, he’s prepared.”

While Brown’s future as a Capital is uncertain, the former sixth-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs seems to be approaching the process with an open mind. ”

“There’s so many moving parts of figuring out where you’re going to land”, Brown said, “Whether that’s you personally, your family…it’s almost best to, I’ve tried to table my thoughts on the whole thing.

“Focus on getting better, focus on being excited to be home. It’s hard to do that, it’s hard to say ‘I wanna be here’, ‘I wanna be there, this is going to be a perfect situation for me’, because a lot of the times it’s not gonna end up…the unknown is obviously tough”, says Brown, who is expecting his first child.

“I have a lot of unknown coming up, where I’m going to be. For me I’m just making sure I’m personally as prepared as possible, and let the chips fall where they may and just have faith in the universe.”

To hear Brown’s full conversation, click HERE

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. Michael joined the NoVa Caps team in 2015, and is most proud of the growth of the NoVa Caps community in that time. An avid photographer, Michael resides in VA.
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6 Responses to Connor Brown: “I’m Just Making Sure I’m Personally As Prepared As Possible and Let the Chips Fall Where They May”

  1. Prevent Defense says:

    Why dork around with the “Sparse at best” Free Agent Class of 2023? Connor Brown is a damn good hockey player and the Caps didn’t sign him by accident. I look at all the UFA jokers on the “Big board” with the NHL Draft and trading frenzy starting in a few days. Brown is at least as good as the lot of them. You’re not supposed to lose your place in the Batting Order just because of an injury. Sign Connor Brown and invite him to Training Camp.

    • hockeydruid says:

      Sign him and invite versus sign him and not invite him to camp? I agree in trying to resign him however with the shallow pool of players even coming off an injury he will be in demand. If they can get Brown to sign a decent contract both in dollars and years I say fill out the rest of the roster with guys from Hershey. Right now there are 10 forwards under contract; if Brown is signer there still 4 spots to be filled so lots of room for guys to show they belong and competition should be very good for those last spots.

  2. dwgie26 says:

    The reason not to sign Brown is because you want roster spots for the Bears youth that is ready. Even without Brown signed it means that Frank, Malenstyn/Protas, Snively, Sutter, and Lapierre are squeezed out of the lineup.

    If you do sign him, it is to play in the Top 6. If you put him at 3RW then it means Oshie is top 6. And Mantha slides to left side and likely pushes McMichael out.

    One interesting move not talked about much would be if we can move Milano who is a young value at 1.9M so cap controlled for 3 years. Maybe he can be moved as a piece along with Mantha which would allow Protas to play 3LW and we could sign a true impact 1/2 RW.

    • hockeydruid says:

      Like your thought but one question I have is who is out there as 1/2RW that is under 30 and not going to cost the house? I think Wilson will be the 1RW so really looking for a 2RW. Enter Brown however his services in a bad UFA market will drive up his price so maybe, just maybe the Caps look inhouse to Hershey to fill that slot.`

      Presently the Caps have 10 forwards under contract for next season and they could just fill those 2 slots with a combination of Protas, Malenstyn, Snively, Sutter (if he gets resigned), Pilon (if he chooses to stay here over other offers), Frank (think he needs another year in Hershey playing everyday), And are McMichael and Lapeirre ready for roles in the NHL. Would you give Miroshnichenko a shot? Whom ever makes the roster there will be 3 sitting in the rafters most nights however maybe that could be on a rotational basis until someone grabs the spots for themselves.

      As much as I would love to move Mantha I done see any way of moving him without loosing assets that at this time we cannot afford to lose like either draft picks or guys from Hershey. Your idea of including Milano is interesting and at 27, while he has already played for 3 teams, he probably will not add much trade value just because he is affordable and under control for 3 years.

      A lot of problems would be solved if Backy would just retire and if a trade package of Kuzy and Mantha and maybe Snively would bring a 2C or a 2RW. However that package is also probably short. Backy takes up 11% of our current cap space and Kuzy takes up 9.3%and Mantha takes up 6.8%. And don’t forget that Wilson is in need of a new contract this summer, if the Caps are going to keep him and his current contract is 6.2% of the cap but I would expect it to become more in the range of 9%.

      If Brown can be resigned then you have your 2RW but then you will need a 2C as Kuzy wants out and why keep an unhappy player who says he wants out? Although he is under control for 2 more years I believe that his attitude and less than stellar production along with his salary will be a hinderance to trading him without having to toss in young assets.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Connor Brown told assembled NHL media sources that he hopes for a reunion with Connor McDavid in Edmonton. They were teammates in minor leagues

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